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Nov 28, 2015

Although music is the ingredient that can make even a badly edited video come to life it's one of the hardest to source if you're trying to produce something on a budget. The right soundtrack can make all the difference to a video, creating a magical effect when sound and vision mesh perfectly.

Determining what kind of music will work best is one challenge, but actually finding something that fits and is free to use is another beast altogether. Below are a few free resources I've found to be useful when sourcing soundtracks.


International Music Score Library Project
Although limited to classical music the International Music Score Library Project offers over 37,000 recordings that are either in the public domain or available under a Creative Commons license. Public Domain music can also be found on Wikipedia and Wikimedia commons but all sites require a bit of digging.



 If in doubt use Camptown Races

Free Music Archive
Free may be in the title but not all the songs on the FMA are available for use in video – a lot of them are though via a Creative Commons license that allows them to be used as long as the artist is credited. Some will be available to use but for non-commercial purposes, so it's always worth double-checking the fine print if you want to use something in a video that has a commercial purpose.

There's a good selection on there if you're looking for something with a more contemporary sound.


Free SFX
If it's just sound effects you need then Free SFX has a great and free library, though everything requires a credit and there are limitations for commercial use.

MIDI Music
It may require a small initial investment but MIDI is a great way to quickly create music that doesn't require fussing around with microphones for a clean sound, and wrong notes can be easily corrected with a mouse-click.

With a few basic chords and simple melodies I've been able to produce some satisfactory short soundtracks using an Akai 25 key keyboard (£31 from Amazon) and a great piece of software called MuLab (which is free but has limitations unless you buy a user key for €59, and there's also a bit of a learning curve).

This is my favourite option for hassle-free music that comes without restrictions though it also requires an investment of time to get things sounding just right.


There's no foolproof solution for easily sourcing free music but the above links and suggestions are the best I've found so far.



Nov 16, 2015

As part of the marketing campaign for Choc Edge's latest printer – the Choc Creator V2.0 Plus – I've been creating a series of videos. Some are instructional, others just show the machine in action.

After studying what other 3D printing YouTubers were doing I decided to keep it simple, adding the Choc Edge branding and speeding the video up in the middle - making it a more watchable length while allowing the viewer to see the whole print.



I had an idea of how I wanted the music to sound in my head, something ambient and relaxing that echoed the mechanical noises the machine makes, so got out my mini MIDI keyboard and created a short piece which had the right feel. The video is just the first in a series which will showcase the ability of the printer to create 2D, 2.5D and 3D chocolate designs.



Nov 9, 2015

Earlier this year I went to Prague and though the real-life Disney princess castle architecture was a bit overwhelming I did find a few things I enjoyed photographing – chief among them these yellow plastic penguins.

Situated outside the Kampa museum they're an art installation by The Cracking Art Group and are made from recycled water bottles from landfill sites. They also light up at night, though I didn't get chance to go back and take the same picture in the dark (I think it could have been trippy with some shutter speed experimentation).


Photograph of The Cracking Art Group's Yellow Penguins in Prague, by Mark Jones

Check out the Cracking Art Group's other work in their gallery, seems they've created some equally colourful and cool plastic animals in other parts of the world too.  



Sep 15, 2015
Out and About

Although I had no intention of going to Dismaland, despite finding the concept intriguing, I was encouraged to go when my flatmate suggested a last-minute trip there on the weekend. We decided to try our luck getting tickets on the day, and as it turned out the five hour wait to get to the ticket booth was the perfect start to one very strange experience.

Grumpy security guards, moody staff in Mickey Mouse hats, and a theme park that looked like it was built by Steptoe & Son formed the surface of an experience that was a broken emotional ferris wheel ride – amusement, anxiety, fear, sadness, and disillusionment looping round like the twangy country muzak that blared through tinny loudspeakers between feedback.


Welcome to Dismaland

A fairground-style game called “Topple the Anvil”, where you paid £1 for three ping pong balls, and £7 pizzas that were deliberately bad were at the amusing end of the scale for me. At the opposite end of the scale was what waited inside the castle – wrapping the experience up in a bow of social commentary that made me feel like I'd been sucker-punched by Gaston.

I still haven't decided what it all means, only that what it means makes me feel bad in a funny way. The irony of it makes your head spin – children happily walking round this entertainingly unsatisfying experience, people buying expensive souvenirs of a work of art that yells about the emptiness of commercialised experiences (and Dismaland appears happy to commercialise itself in order to prove its point), and people (myself included) taking pictures of things that mock you for taking pictures of them.


Don't feed the birds


Modern art doesn't usually do much for me, and while previously I've found Banksy's work appealing and iconic I wouldn't have called myself a fan of his either. After visiting Dismaland I'd call myself a convert in both cases, having never been so affected by something that called itself art before, and wasn't a movie or a piece of music.

I didn't go home and cry myself to sleep, but since visiting I've been pre-occupied by trying to untangle the whole experience and its meaning. And just like the real Disneyland (which I'm also a fan of) I'd definitely go back – though I'm not sure why.



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Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting. He's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In addition to being a copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark had also forged other forms of content for the web and print including photography, video and illustrations

Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.

Some Like it Sloth
Riding the Dartington Donkey
High Cross Piano

Check out some examples of the freelance content creation services Mark offers:

>: Copywriting 

>: Photography

>: Video

Royal Albert Memorial Museum - Cloning Collections
Exeter City Council - Armed Forces Day
National Trust - South West Christmas Card 2013

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